The Best and Worst of Johnny Depp

Updated on November 15, 2018
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is a film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

Prologue

Johnny Depp: the man, the myth, the mystery, the legend. Johnny has gone from teen heartthrob to one of the most versatile and well-known actors in history. What are his best films? Did he even have any bad ones? Below I will list the top five and worst 5 of Johnny Depp's films, and I will also include a complete filmography with my ratings of each film.

The Best Films of Johnny Depp

  • Blow - This biopic tells the story of George Jung, the man who brought the cocaine market to the United States, even working with the drug king himself, Pablo Escobar. The film is astoundingly well-acted and the ending is heartbreaking, making you feel sorry for the man who had ruined the lives of those around him. 4 out of 4.
  • Finding Neverland - The film shows a particular part of J.M. Barrie's life in which he befriends a single mom with three boys, soon gaining the inspiration to write the famous play 'Peter Pan'. The film is emotional, tearing at your heart strings continuously from start to finish. 4 out of 4
  • Edward Scissorhands - In the role that solidified him as versatile and strange, Johnny plays as Edward, a man who has blades for fingers. He's adopted by a 'normal' family, but his strangeness is too much for the community to accept. Funny, full of heart, and sad, the film has everything needed to achieve perfection. 4 out of 4.
  • Arizona Dream - A young car salesman falls for a woman twice his age and also finds himself falling for her daughter. The film's focus is on mental illness. The mother had bipolar disorder and the daughter had severe depression with suicidal tendencies. The film showed in detail what a toll it takes to not only live with mental illness but the effects it has on those closest to the mentally ill. 4 out of 4.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - One of the most iconic roles of his career, Johnny plays Captain Jack Sparrow, a pirate in the 1760s who is determined to recover his ship from the mutinous Captain Barbossa. Action-packed and oftentimes hilarious, the film commandeers a 4 out of 4.
  • HONORABLE MENTION: The Brave - An emotional tale about a man who will do anything to make sure his family can live comfortably, even if it means the ultimate sacrifice. 3.5 out of 4.

The Worst Films of Johnny Depp

  • Alice Through the Looking Glass - The most disappointing of all his films, the second Alice film has Alice travelling through time to save a dying Mad Hatter. What made this film bad was that it felt like not much effort was put into it, rather just a film that was thrown together because they knew it'd sell if Johnny Depp was in it. The plot was good but the CGI, acting, and makeup were all just mediocre. 2 out of 4.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - The problem with the film lies "between the lines" so to speak. There were a ton of continuity issues that practically go against the mythology that the previous four films had so perfectly created. Pirates 5 had been given new writers and new directors, which did more damage than good. While they attempted to make a good film, they didn't pay much attention to detail and caused the film to not only be choppy and rather uneven but also a blatant disregard of most all previous events. The end credit scene also sets up part 6, but according to the mythos set up in parts 2 & 3, what the writers have done is an impossibility which makes me fear that part 6 is already doomed. 2 out of 4.
  • The Libertine - Based on a play, this film tells the story of Rochester, a man of high stance in England who was a sex addict. The problem with the film? It barely touches on the man's disorder. For a story about the effects of sex addiction in the old England days, it sure doesn't say much about it, besides graphically showing what untreated syphilis does to the body. 2 out of 4.
  • The Rum Diary - Journalist Paul Kemp goes to Puerto Rico to get started writing again, but falls for a taken woman. The film is rather slow with a few funny moments. The movie's downfall is no fault of Johnny's, but rather the directing. 2 out of 4.
  • The Man Who Cried - The film centers on a young woman trying to find her father, but becomes distracted by a gypsy man and begins a love affair with him. So, wait, her dad's no longer a priority over a traveling gypsy? 2 out of 4.
  • DISHONORABLE MENTION: The Tourist - The film starts well and keeps interest for a while, but by the end it feels as if the writers confuse themselves and called it brilliance. Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie do their best with what they were given. 2 out of 4.

Johnny Depp: Full Rated Filmography

  • A Nightmare on Elm Street - 3 out of 4.
  • Private Resort - 2 out of 4
  • Platoon - 4 out of 4
  • Edward Scissorhands - 4 out of 4.
  • Cry-Baby - 2.5 out of 4
  • Arizona Dream - 4 out of 4
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape - 4 out of 4
  • Benny & Joon - 3 out of 4
  • Ed Wood - 4 out of 4
  • Don Juan DeMarco - 2 out of 4
  • Nick of Time - 3 out of 4
  • Dead Man - 3 out of 4
  • The Brave - 3.5 out of 4
  • Donnie Brasco - 4 out of 4
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - 3.5 out of 4
  • The Source - 3 out of 4
  • The Ninth Gate - 3 out of 4
  • The Astronaut's Wife - 2 out of 4
  • Sleepy Hollow - 3 out of 4
  • The Man Who Cried - 2 out of 4
  • Chocolat - 4 out of 4
  • Before Night Falls - 4 out of 4
  • From Hell - 3.5 out of 4
  • Blow - 4 out of 4
  • Lost in La Mancha - 4 out of 4
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - 4 out of 4
  • Once Upon a Time in Mexico - 3 out of 4
  • The Libertine - 2 out of 4
  • Secret Window - 3.5 out of 4
  • Finding Neverland - 4 out of 4
  • Happily Ever After - 2.5 out of 4
  • Corpse Bride - 3 out of 4
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - 3 out of 4
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest - 4 out of 4
  • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street - 4 out of 4
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - 3 out of 4
  • The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus - 3 out of 4
  • Public Enemies - 3 out of 4
  • The Tourist - 2 out of 4
  • Alice in Wonderland - 2.5 out of 4
  • Cannes Man (AKA Con Man) - 1.5 out of 4
  • The Rum Diary - 2 out of 4
  • Rango - 3.5 out of 4
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides - 3 out of 4
  • Dark Shadows - 3 out of 4
  • For No Good Reason - 4 out of 4
  • The Lone Ranger - 3 out of 4
  • Lucky Them - 3 out of 4
  • Tusk - 4 out of 4
  • Transcendence - 4 out of 4
  • Into the Woods - 2.5 out of 4
  • Mortdecai - 3 out of 4
  • Black Mass - 4 out of 4
  • The Art of the Deal: The Movie - 3 out of 4
  • Alice Through the Looking Glass - 2 out of 4
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales - 2 out of 4
  • Murder on the Orient Express - 2.5 out of 4
  • Sherlock Gnomes - 2.5 out of 4
  • Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - 3 out of 4

What's your favorite Johnny Depp film?

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Conclusion

Johnny Depp is a great actor, perhaps the greatest of his generation. He immerses himself in his roles, heart and mind, and gives us his very best every time. Every movie has its flaws, sometimes with acting, sometimes with writing, sometimes with directing, and sometimes there's unforseen circumstances that can't be helped. Either way, it's clear that Johnny is a great actor with a beautiful mind and heart that should never be taken for granted.

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    © 2016 Alec Zander

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